MANILA — The Catholic Church insisted its rights in choosing those who would want to be part of the clergy.
“The Church asserts its exclusive right to determine its own criteria and to exclude even on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity if it finds these to be hindrances to the fidelity that is expected or ordained or consecrated persons,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.
The CBCP president is reacting on the “anti-discrimination” measure or the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity bill.
Villegas said that such right was stated under the “free exercise” clause of the fundamental law of the land.
He said that it was the choice of the person with which gender to identify.
“On the basis of its understanding of the human condition, the Church cannot encourage persons to ‘choose’ their gender, orientation, and sexual identity as if these were matters at the free disposal of choice,” the Catholic prelate said.
The head of the CBCP also echoed the statement of Pope Francis on gays, saying that they should “not be demeaned, embarrassed, or humiliated” and should be integrated into society, but affirmed the Church teaching that homosexual acts were a sin.
He added that “no one may be excluded from the life of the Church and its sacraments merely because of avowed” orientation or identity.
But, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate reiterated the Church’s stand against same sex unions.
“If ‘gay rights’ movements, for instance, encourage free and unbridled sexual relations between persons of the same sex, the Church cannot lend its support, for in its view, they ultimately do a disservice to our brothers and sisters,” said Villegas.